I’m a Margaux lover but this appellation is utterly frustrating in 2011.The wines of merit are outnumbered by the disappointing here by a margin of almost 2 to 1. What’s gone so wrong? It was a challenging year of course but so it was for everyone else. Margaux, as one of the largest blue chip appellations, has a far wider variety of soils and terroirs than say Pauillac or St Julien, so this probably accounts for some of the irregularity. The drought conditions through the first half of the season, followed by topsy-turvy weather, cool summer but with a huge heat spike, would have also caused more problems in the vineyards here than elsewhere. This would have been especially the case on the lighter, gravelly soils that Margaux is famous for. So we’re talking about dealing with grapes with an unusual degree of irregularity in ripeness. Sorting in the vineyard, selection in the winery all would have been essential, even at those estates that had managed this tricky growing season well.
Posts Tagged ‘Pavillon Rouge’
Last November Paul Pontallier was expressing embarrassment at the potential quality of the 2010 vintage he had just put in vat. Just how could the estate follow on from the 2009? Again it’s a case of a different year rather than a better one, but 2010 is a beauty here. In terms of the harvest itself the vintage was more homogenous across the plots than in 2009, a year in which some of the younger Merlots did struggle a bit with the heat and the drought. That wasn’t the case in 2010 and there was more consistency to the harvest. This has had a knock on effect more for Pavillon Rouge which is terrific. As for the grand vin, it is exceptional, with remarkable purity and freshness. In the line up of first growths this year it is the most beautiful and seductive. For the first time the proportions of the grand vin and Pavillon Rouge are the same, at 38%, down 15% on 2009, with the remainder of the harvest going into the estate’s new third wine [as yet to be christened – or to be tasted…].
Remember you heard it here first! As originally suggested by Paul Pontailler last November on my visit to Chateau Margaux this week www.decanter.com reported that Chateau Margaux has confirmed the release a third wine in 2009, and most likely also in 2010. Its introduction is due partly to the quality of the wine made here in 2009 but also because of the increasingly strict selection for Pavillon Rouge the estate’s second wine. There is no name yet although Pontailler is reportedly keen on something short and to the point. No news either on the price.
Here’s is a brief summary of the top Bordeaux 2009 wines I tasted in late March and early April. Big caveats here in the selection. Although I did taste 160 plus 2009s, I didn’t get to all the Chateaux I wanted to in the trip. The most notable omissions in the Médoc were, Cos d’Estournel, Montrose, Latour, Pontet Canet, Ducru, Las Cases and Palmer, in Pessac-Léognan Haut-Brion and La Mission, in St Emilion Cheval Blanc and Ausone and the JP Moueix properties in Pomerol, obviously Pétrus, Lafleur-Pétrus and Trotanoy. I tasted most of the Sauternes with the exception of d’Yqyem and Climens. These taken together are clearly an important bunch! I hope to visit these properties in the coming months so news on them will follow when I do. Anyway, here are the scores of my best so far. Hope it’s useful.